April 20, 2007


I know it seems as though I've been out of circulation, but I'm still here and still knitting! And, I finally got my green tea


which came all the way from the fields in Hangzhou, China:


Scenic, misty fields. If you look closely, you can see the people (wearing straw hats) picking the tea leaves.

Scott had a business trip to Shanghai and environs, and was gone for the first two weeks of April. (Somebody had to stay home to feed the animals and keep the kids on their schedule, and that somebody was me.) He worked at an awning trade show, and visited some awning factories, and did some sightseeing, like to Hangzhou, above. Scott's overall impression of China: It was interesting, but nice to be back home where we are actively working on our environmental issues. Shanghai was smoggy, and the amount of new construction there was staggering.

Here's a photo showing how the green tea leaves are dried:


The drum is heated to a high temperature, and the worker stirs the freshly-picked tea leaves.

This green tea has 10 times the flavor of the Republic of Tea brand of green tea that I've been buying at the local supermarket. This authentic green tea smells like spinach, and has a somewhat bitter taste, which Scott tells me will mellow and improve if I get in the habit of re-using the tea leaves. In China, the custom is to drink glasses of green tea all day long, and to keep using the same tea leaves.

During the time that Scott was away, my computer mysteriously crashed, and when re-booted, would no longer connect to the internet. I suffered along for two days, re-booting it from time to time and magically thinking that this time, whatever was ailing the computer connection would have healed itself and it would connect. (During that time I was still able to use dial-up, which is not very convenient for a myriad of reasons.) You might guess that in our household, when there are computer problems, these normally get delegated to Scott to fix. Well, the third day I finally steeled myself to call tech support. The person who helped me was friendly, non-patronizing, and had me connected again in just a few minutes. I know there are people who bear nothing but grudges against Comcast, but I've gotta say, our experience with them has always been positive.

After Scott returned from China, he was laid up with an extremely bad cough and cold. Seems like travelers often end up with colds, but this was extreme.

I bring up these details, not to complain, but to explain why I haven't been blogging and why I've missed two Feral Knitters meetings and a Guild meeting. While Scott was away, I wanted to stick close to home, and when he came back and was sick, I wanted to stick close to home. And I just couldn't get excited about blogging using the dial-up connection.

And, keeping it all in perspective: My computer hassles were easily resolved. And a cough and cold with accompanying jet lag is a small price to pay for the fascinating time Scott had in China. And I hesitate to even call these events 'problems,' given the scope of the tragedy in Virginia this week. I had tears in my eyes when I read about the victims, so many of them so bright, such good people who might have made a positive contribution to their communities, their promising futures taken away from them by this deranged person. And how can we prevent this from happening in the future? Gun control? Better mental health care?

* * *

In knitting news: I wanted to test drive the new lace weight yarn that Two Swans just got in, Dawn. And what better way to test drive it than to knit a swatch for the TKGA Master Knitter program?


I challenged myself with this stitch pattern, called "Pyrenees Pattern" from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury, because it has yo's on both the knit and the purl sides of the fabric. One need not do anything this complicated for the Master Knitter Program, but hey, I like a challenge.

Dawn is a 50% wool, 50% silk blend. It is very soft (the word 'limp' comes to mind), especially in comparison to my other lace swatches for the Master Knitter Program, which I knitted in a wool/cotton blend and which have lots of body. Dawn really holds blocking! And it is a very fine yarn. I knitted my swatch on size US 2 needles, and those 1-inch seed stitch borders at the top and bottom of the swatch each took 17 rows. Seventeen! I'm a tight knitter, but even so, this gives you an indication of how fine this yarn is.

Dawn is the yarn used for the Angel Lace Shawl, the newest Evelyn Clark offering from Fiber Trends:


and the Hydrangea Lace Scarf, the newest from Eugen Buegler:


I'll save my report on my other knitting projects for the next blog entry. Now I'm off to go meet with my Master Knitter Wannabe group. I'm definitely back in circulation!

Posted by Karen at April 20, 2007 11:32 AM

Just wanted to stop by and say it's nice to hear from you. Oh, and great post!

Posted by: Denise at April 20, 2007 01:00 PM

I'm glad you are back! What interesting information about the tea leaves!

Thanks for the updates on the master knitter program progress and the Two Swans product updates!

Posted by: Naomi at April 20, 2007 05:12 PM